The thyroid plays an important role in regulating the body's metabolism. Virtually every tissue in the body is affected or regulated by the thyroid hormone. It regulates the brain and nerve development and function, skin, hair, eyes, heart, and intestine function. Thyroid nodules are quite common, affecting 20-25% of the population. Some of the nodules can be malignant; therefore, all nodules deserve attention.
If your physician has suggested that you see a surgeon to treat your thyroid condition, you may wonder what type of surgeon is best for you. ARC surgeons who specialize in head and neck surgery, as well as those who specialize in general surgery, are available to treat thyroid cancer and diseases ranging from benign tumors and cancers to injuries and other thyroid issues.
What is a thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck. It is below the voice box (larynx) and on top of the trachea (windpipe). The small, two-inch gland consists of 2 lobes, one on each side of the windpipe, connected by a small bridge of thyroid tissue called the isthmus.
The thyroid tissue is made up of 2 types of cells: follicular and parafollicular. Most thyroid tissue consists of follicles lined by follicular cells, which secrete iodine-containing thyroid hormones.
Functions of the thyroid gland
The thyroid plays an important role in regulating the body's metabolism. The hormones it secretes help govern many body functions, like how the body produces heat, consumes oxygen, and uses energy. Virtually every tissue in the body is affected or regulated by the thyroid hormone. It regulates the brain and nerve development and function, skin, hair, eyes, heart, and intestine function.
What are parathyroid glands?
The parathyroid glands are four small, oval-shaped glands. They are located next to the two thyroid gland lobes in the neck. Each gland is often about the size of a pea.
The function of the parathyroid glands is to produce parathyroid hormone (PTH). This hormone plays a key role in regulating calcium levels in the blood. Precise calcium levels are important because small changes can cause muscle and nerve problems.
Parathyroid hormone stimulates these functions:
Release of calcium by bones into the bloodstream. This affects bone density and strength.
Calcium absorption from food by the intestines.
Calcium conservation by the kidneys.
Kidney cell stimulation. This changes the weaker forms of vitamin D into the strongest form to absorb calcium from the intestines.